We live in a time where almost everything is accessible digitally. You can pay your bills, find a new home, connect with a friend in a different country, or even read your favorite book all from the click of a button. Due to COVID-19, many people are working from home so you can even get your job done, virtually. There is an abundance of social media networks such as Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, or Facebook, that are constantly grabbing everyone’s attention. When you truly think about it, we are constantly surrounded by some type of screen. We are continuously filtering in other people’s energy and lives. If you’re working from home, you may start to feel like you’re living at work instead of working from home. You might also find yourself wanting to connect with loved ones virtually to remain safe but simultaneously feeling like you don’t have one more zoom party left in you (I feel you). Trying to maintain your virtual social life, upkeeping your productivity, and live in a pandemic is draining to say the least. This can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, increased substance use, and worsening of mental health and chronic health conditions. Needless to say, implementing digital boundaries with yourself and others are needed right now more than ever. Here are some ways to protect your peace in our digitally immersed world.
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Schedule in time to unwind
Taking time to unwind is crucial in setting digital and physical boundaries. Due to the intertwined nature of working and living at home, it might be helpful to schedule in time to unwind and relax. This may look like blocking out time on your calendar or having a certain time of the day where you disconnect from everything and spend time with yourself. This can also apply if you aren’t working from home. If you are going into work your boundary may look like taking your full lunch break or leaving work on time. I understand paid time off (PTO) is a privilege but if it is within your means, use it. This is regardless whether you are working from home or going into work. Rest is not negotiable, it’s necessary.
Prioritize your mornings
What’s the first thing you do when you open your eyes? For most people, it’s checking social media and emails. A major boundary you can set is by allowing yourself to take time to mentally prepare for your day and not checking your phone unless you have to. Your phone can invite in so many stressors at the start of the day. These stressors consume a large amount of your energy and can ultimately throw your day off. Establish a morning routine that allows you to get in the proper mindset and ready to take on your day. Your routine may include activities such as reading a physical book, allowing time to reflect and drink your tea or coffee, or taking time to stretch your body.
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Take social media breaks
Constant consumption of social media and digital content can be a recipe for disaster. It is beneficial to allow yourself to take a break from social media every now and then. Taking a break may look like deleting your apps for the day or have a certain time frame where you visit them. Working on a big project for work or needing time to refocus your energy, take a media break. This is a great way to conserve your peace and energy.
Manage other’s expectations
As I mentioned earlier, working from home can feel a lot like living at work lately. Many people are under the assumption since you are working from home you must be available at all times. You may find yourself receiving messages like “Did you get my email?” after work hours or something similar. This is the perfect scenario to set a boundary and manage other people’s expectations. You can respond the next day “I don’t check my emails after work hours; however, I will look into your email right now.” Of course, every job has different requirements but setting a boundary about the times you are available or not is a good way to protect your peace.
Clean up your space, mentally
We have to be mindful of the clutter that may have a hold on us emotionally and mentally. Decluttering your space mentally may look like unfollowing certain social accounts or deleting certain apps off of your phone. It may also look like not texting or direct messaging your ex because you’re bored. When we declutter our space, we conserve our peace and make room for our focus to be on more important things.